View Full Version : Free Water? Utilities?
A friend of mine has an underground water leak. The water company has determined it is not their main header (supply line), but a feeder line going to the house upstream of the meter. The claim it's his propert and his problem, et, they've given my friend an ultimatum to get it fixed soon - or he'll be fined....because of the unbilled goods being lost.
This makes me wonder...
If this pipe really belongs to him, can't he tap off it and take water into his house - bypassing the meter? Is this illegal? If so, then why do they say it's his pipe?
Can we do this with other such utilities, too, when a utility comes onto my property? Is this like what people have tried to pull with cable TV?
Where do my property rights start? (You'd think downstream of the meter!
05-25-2001, 12:58 PM
I'm not sure 'bout water. But here's how it works with phones. The phone company must maintain service to a demarcation point in order to bill you. That point (usally a jack called network interface) is the first point you can gain access to you line. The telco is fully responsible to get dialtone to that point and you are fully responsible from that point (ignoring wire maintance packages.) It doesn't matter if the wires are on your porperty or not. it's called utility right of way.
05-25-2001, 01:15 PM
Utilities generally have "rights of way" granted to them by The Gummint to run their cables/pipes/etc. Usually there is a specified point on your property which marks the border between the utility's property and yours. The utility is responsible for maintaining the equipment up to that point. In the case of electricity or water, the point is usually at the meter itself, meaning tapping into anything upstream of the meter would be "trespassing" in a sense.
05-25-2001, 03:12 PM
Your friend definitely needs to consult a lawyer before he lets the water company bully him into fixing equipment that may or may not be his responsibility. 'Nuff said.
05-25-2001, 08:15 PM
Being a planner that often delves into issues regarding my town's water system ---
1) Generally, the municipal water utility will fix anything on their end of the meter, while you're responsible for leaks on your side of the meter, unless they were caused by the utility or municipality.
2) Most properties have utility easements for both overhead and underground utilities. You own the property, but the utility has the "right of trespass." Utilities also have the right to acquire easements through eminent domain. If you have a problem with the easements, tbe utilities will often be more than happy to disconnect your house from the grid.
3) Water theft is a serious crime. Usually, it's contractors, both legitimate and otherwise, that make up the bulk of water thieves -- they'll pull a tanker truck up to a hydrant, hook up a hose, and let 'er rip. Around these parts, water thieves get arrested if they're caught in the act. Water theft account for a huge part of the small water system's water loss, and those who even take a few gallons without an intervening meter are looked upon in a very dim light.
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